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Which Side Are You On? The Life and Times of Pete Seeger.

In a new and expanded version of their tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger, who died this year aged 94, JIMMY and FINLAY are joined by fiddler and singer GILLIAN FRAME, a former Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and PENNY STONE, a singer/songwriter and peace activist. Included in the programme are Seeger’s own songs, Waist Deep In The Big Muddy, Talking Union and Turn! Turn! Turn! among others, as well as other tunes he popularised such as Pastures Of Plenty and Deportee by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly’s Irene, Goodnight. The show also features archive pictures, (including one of him performing at St Andrew’s Halls in Glasgow), which illustrate the fascinating story of Seeger’s life; covering his music and friendship with Guthrie and Leadbelly, his activism and persecution during the McCarthy era, his involvement in the civil rights movement and his opposition to the Vietnam War.


Bread and Roses - Songs of the Great Unrest

This was the era of the Wobblies, The Dublin Lockout, The Lawrence Bread and Roses strike. James Connolly, John Maclean, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Joe Hill and Big Bill Hayward are just some of the workers' leaders celebrated by songs of this time.
In this presentation about the time Finlay Allison and Jimmy Ross recreate this tumultuous period of working class history in songs, words and pictures.
Song List
Lassies O' Neilston; Dirty Scotch Pigs; Jute Mill Song; Spinners Wedding; Preacher and the Slave; Power in the Union; 1913 Massacre; Ballad of Larkin; Connolly Was There; Popular Wobbly; Joe Hill; Solidarity Forever; Rebel Girl; Bread and Roses


Red Clydeside

In 1919 the 40 hours strike took place on Clydeside. Pitched battles took place between police and strikers in the streets around George Square. Iron palings were pulled up and used as a defence against the police truncheons, while bottles were mobilised from a passing lorry to serve as missiles.
Although well on the way down the de-industrialisation road Glasgow still retains it's reputation for having a keen sense of social justice. In 2000 the government decided to disperse thousands of refugees from London to Glasgow.
In this look at the reality and legend of Red Clyde, Finlay and Jimmy sing songs which pay tribute to Spanish Civil Warr volunteers, Glasgow 'Eskimos' protesting the nuclear weapons in the Holy Loch, Upper Clyde shipbuilders work-in and the great tradition of protest and solidarity in Scotland over the last 100 years.
Song List:
A' Jock Tamson's Bairns; Ding Dong Dollar; Dirty Scotch Pigs; Don' Sign Up for War; Freedom Come All Ye; Hermless; Jamie Foyers; Lasses O' Neilston; Mrs Barbour's Army; Red Clydesiders; The Man in Peterhead; The Spinner'sWedding; Wi' Jimmie Reid and Airlie


Ewan MacColl and the Folk Revival

By the mid sixties in the UK there was a well established and flourishing folk club scene. But it was divided in a number of ways; between the traditionalists and those who saw folk music as just another way into a career in show business; the 'trad v modern' divide; and over the role of politics in folk music. There were many in the traditional camp who praised MacColl's Radio Ballad compositions as being just like modern traditional songs but who rejected his overtly socialist political songs. For MacColl the whole folk music project was political. With his partner Peggy Seeger they wrote and performed some of the best songs of the Folk Revival. Jimmy and Finlay attempt to put Ewan's contribution into context in this presentation about his life in folk music.

 


Songs of Scotland

Farming
Nicky Tams; Johnny Sangster; Band o' Shearers; Drumdelgie; Barnyards o' Delgaty; Bogie's Bonnie Belle; Plooman Laddie; Rovin' Ploughboy
Fishing
Fisherman's Wife; Shoals of Herring; Farewell to Tarwathie; Song of the Fishgutters; Greenland Whale Fisheries; My Donald
Factory
Factory Girl; Jute Mill Song; Spinners Wedding; Doffing Mistress
Fighting
Forfar Sodger; Twa Recruiting Sergeants; Arthur MacBride; Fareweel tae Sicily; D-Day Dodgers; The Deserter; Soldier Maid
Freedom
Jamie Foyers; Freedom Man; For A'That; Freedom Come All Ye; Last Fareweel tae Stirling

 


 

The Legacy of Ewan MacColl

In this show we chart the evolution from son of emigre Scots parents in Salford; through his involvement in radical theatre up to the 1950s; and his subsequent transformation from the acclaimed playwright Jimmy Miller to the folksinger, song maker and collector Ewan MacColl.

We perform many of Ewan’s own songs, songs he collected and others he researched and introduced to the emerging folk revival.

We both met Ewan on many occasions from our involvement in the folk revival from the 60s onwards, as performers and folk club organisers. Ewan was great source of inspiration to us, both in terms of the songs he popularised, wrote and collected and his commitment to the indigenous music and songs of these islands. Ewan and his partner Peggy Seeger ran workshops for young performers on various aspects of singing and accompanying folk songs and we attended many of these. As a result of this we set up, with others, in the 70s the Tradition Folk Club in Glasgow which featured not only Ewan and Peggy (many times)but also “source” singers like Belle Stewart and Lizzie Higgins. We also present a ‘folkumentary’ originally devised with the late Alistair Hulett entitled “Ewan MacColl and thePolitics of the Folksong Revival” dealing with MacColl’s political ideas and their implications for his work and career.

We believe that folk music today owes Ewan MacColl a great debt which for the most part goes unacknowledged or is recognised often grudgingly. A glance at his discography shows the huge number albums that he and Peggy recorded, bringing neglected and forgotten songs back popularity. They brought into the folk repertoire many of the songs that we take for granted today. Their books, “The Singing Island” and “Scots Songs and Ballads” were indispensable in making a wealth of material available to young singers in the pre-digital age. His own compositions, many of which like “Shoals of Herring” are now often thought of as old traditional songs and have been recorded by a huge range of artistes from Elvis Presley and Roberta Flack through to Martin Bennet and Dick Gaughan.
His work with Charles Parker and Peggy Seeger on the Radio Ballads still stands the testof time both in the number of great songs they produced and the innovative quality and freshness of the documentaries themselves.

Ewan took folk music very seriously and had an intellectual approach to it. This involved both performance and singing in which he used techniques he brought from his work as an actor/director and also of analysing and interrogating the material both textually and musically. He formed a singing discussion group known as The Critics’ Group who performed to each other and then analysed and criticised their performances with the aim of improving their singing and communication. He, with Peggy, also wrote several books about travellers and their songs which he had collected and, importantly, encouraged young revival singers to explore sources for similar material in their own areas.

Alan Lomax was pivotal in MacColl’s development as a folksinger. It was Lomax who persuaded him to take folk music seriously as a project. He also introduced MacColl to
both Bert Lloyd and Peggy Seeger, with whom he set up the first British folk song club. You could say that it was these introductions that kick-started the British folksong revival. It isalso interesting to note that Lomax was responsible for the birth of the folk revival in the US a decade earlier when he introduced Pete Seeger to Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly.